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A Guide to Chalk Painted Furniture

Chalk style paint is a popular choice for furniture painting because it is easy to use, adheres well to a variety of surfaces, and provides a fantastic matte finish. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use chalk type paints on furniture.

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Materials Needed:

Grab your piece and let's get started!


  1. Prepare the Furniture: Clean the furniture thoroughly to remove any dust, dirt, or grease. Use a damp cloth with a mild soap, rinse with water, and allow the furniture to dry completely.

Read From Grime to Shine: Cleaning Furniture before Painting for an in depth post about cleaning furniture before painting.

2. Inspect the Surface:

Check if there are any repairs that are needed to be made. Is there any loose veneer? Scratches, gouges, or holes that need to be filled? Fix these before moving to the next step.

Read Fix it & Flip it: Basic Repairs for Furniture Makeovers

3. Sand the Piece (Optional):

Chalk type paints are known for its ability to adhere to surfaces without extensive sanding. However, if the furniture has a glossy or very smooth finish, you may choose to scuff sand it with fine-grit sandpaper to create a better bonding surface.

Read Smooth Moves: Sanding Techniques for Furniture if you need help deciding how much sanding you need to do before painting, or if you want more information about this topic.

4. Prime the Surface (Optional):

When using this type of paint it is not always necessary to prime. Primer serves a foundation and is used to promote enhanced adhesion, block odors and bleed through, and ensures long-lasting results.

Read Prime Time: Creating a Solid Foundation to determine when to prime and when it can be skipped.

5. Stir the Paint:

Before using the paint, stir it well with a stir stick. Paint can settle, and stirring by lifting up from the bottom of the jar ensures an even consistency.

6. Apply the First Coat:

Use a paint brush brush to apply the first coat of the paint. Apply the paint in even strokes, following the grain of the wood if applicable.

7. Allow Drying Time:

Allow the first coat of chalk paint to dry completely before applying another coat. This type of paint typically dries quickly, often within an hour or two.

8. Distressing (Optional):

If you want a distressed look, you can use fine-grit sandpaper to distress the painted surface once it's dry. Focus on areas that would naturally wear over time, such as edges and corners.

9. Seal the Paint (Optional):

There are quite a few brands of chalk style paints that do no require a top coat, but if you want/need additional protection or a slight sheen, you can apply a clear wax or a water based sealant. Allow the wax or sealant to dry completely before adding a second coat.

Water Based Clear Coat - Use a brush or application sponge to apply in thin, even layer. There is a Polycrylic Top Coat Spray that can be used as well. Shake well before evenly spraying along the surface in thin layers.

Wax - Use a wax brush or a lint-free cloth to apply the wax in a thin, even layer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the specific wax or sealant you are using. After allowing to dry, buff the surface with a clean, lint-free cloth to achieve a smooth and polished finish.

*Never use a water based product over wax. If you need to touch up the paint - do so before waxing or remove the wax first.

Read Sealing the Deal: Top Coating Furniture for a more detailed post about using clear top coats.


Chalk painting is more than a DIY trick, it's a form of self-expression that makes every piece ultimately yours! Cheers to your newfound furniture flair and colorful stories it's ready to tell your new home.

Show me your refinished piece! I want to see what you were able to create, what color you used, and any complications you ran into. Let me know below if you have any questions I can try to answer.



Check out more blog posts on painting furntiure:


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